Category Archives: Indonesia Blog

Trunyan Cemetery : Where Dead Body (literaly) Laid Under the Shades of Magic Tree

Trunyan Village is located remotely across Batur Lake. It takes about 3 hours drive from Denpasar or 2 hours drive from Ubud. As some other mountain tribes in some parts of Indonesia, they still preserve their indigenous tradition. For Trunyanese, they have distinctive belief, custom, tradition than other areas in Bali, especially on how to treat dead bodies.

Road from Lake Batur rim to Trunyan Village is winding, some steep and narrow, when i went there the road uncountable potholes. Arrival at the village, you will sense the different life than Kuta Area or Ubud area. The electricity has already light the village, it has also phone signal and internet. Trunyanese are farmers, they grow vegetables, like cabbage, chilly, garlic, onion and bean. They also do fishing at Batur Lake and some work in tourism as boat crew taking tourist to Trunyan Cemetery. Yet, there are only small amount of visitors visiting Trunyan Area compared to other popular tourist destination on the island.

Cock fighting is very common activity in Trunyan. In the afternoon some cocks in the cage in front of the houses. Kintamani dogs roam nearby the lake. Metal roof houses of Trunyanese are not fully decorated like Balinese house. Trunyan has been inhabited since the 10th Century, as written on Trunyan Inscription date back 833 Saka (0r 911 AD), that reveals permit to erect a seven levels temple to worship Batara Da Tonta, or after Hinduization, called as Ratu Sakti Pancering Jagat. And the village has been there even longer. Trunyanese are Bali Mula, or the oldest community living in Bali, and still preserves their neolithic customs (pre-Hindu custom). They are not primitive tribe at all, they are just conservative and avoid having outsiders or new values. Even though Trunyan is a tourist destination , locals do not prepare lodging, homestay or restaurant. You can only find small stalls selling mineral water nearby the lake.

From Trunyan harbor, you will need to ride boat to the cemetery. The boat has no engine, 2 people rowed the boat. This boat also used by locals going to cemetery and temple next to the cemetery. Visitors will be given life vest for this boat ride. I enjoy this 15 minutes non-engine boat ride, as i feel the quietness of the lake and moving slowly on a paddle pace give me time to enjoy the vista more and imagining how local do it for their funeral. I saw some visitors using speedboat which are very noisy.

The cemetery area is not a big area, it is located right on the edge of the lake under the shades. When i went there the boat man informed us that we can take pictures or videos, and it is not allowed to take anything from the cemetery. He also mentioned that there were 3 new dead bodies laid there. Trunyan Tree looks like Banyan tree (genus : ficus) . This tree (is believed to) absorbs the bad odor. Trunyan derives from Taru means tree and Menyan means fragrant. According to the legend, in the past unlike now, Taru Menyan was so fragrant across the island that might attract outsider to find the tree, the village leader asked his people to not bury the corpse, but just laid under the tree, to neutralize the fragrance.

Under the tree there are skulls placed on shrine. And about 10 meters from the shrine are some bodies covered by clothes and then caged by bamboo, to prevent animals attacking the body. When i arrived there i saw 3 monkeys sitting on those cage. The cemetery looks dirty with various goods, such as flip flops, plate, spoon, mat, and other household items, which are dedicated by the family to the dead for their life after death.

All in all visiting Trunyan was an amazing experience, even though it was organized poorly still. Enhancing the life of Trunyanese by education can be like contradiction, which can also endanger the local unique traditional value and custom with modern value on the other end.

And beware of insects when you visiting the cemetery, though  the insects are not dangerous and leave a tiny red bump, it will be more convenient if those insects do not bite you. A friend of mine got bitten by an insects that we do not know the name is, it just flied to him, and made two bites (or probably stings) that made him panic as it was like  electric shock.





Hotel Options in the Heart of Surabaya

Are you staying in Surabaya , for some days or just for a short visit, and want to f eel the ambience  of the city? Below options if you want to stay right in the heart of it, nearby the most popular shopping mall in Surabaya, Tunjungan Plaza.  Sure these hotel options have an added benefit if you love shopping.

    -Majapahit Hotel
    If you love colonial architecture, this hotel is on your first list. This historical hotel is a 5 star hotel located right in the middle of the city. If you want to visit Tunjungan Plaza, it is just within 2 minutes walk or so. Its vast green weell-nurtured garden created the atmosphere of oasis in the midst of Surabaya.

    -JW Mariott Hotel
    Located about 7 minutes walk from Tunjungan Plaza, this 5 star hotel has marvelous facilities and large rooms. The price can be different on weekend and weekdays.

    -Sheraton Surabaya
    A 5 star hotel located in the same complex as Tunjungan Plaza, very convenience location.

    -Four Points by Sheraton.
    Located right in the new complex of Tunjungan Plaza, managed by Sheraton hotels. This luxury business hotel offer spacious room with modern design.

    -Bumi Surabaya
    This hotel called itself a city resort. The garden is green and spacious and rejuvenating after your busy activities. The contemporary designed rooms completed with spacious bathroom. The hotel is just within walking distance to Tunjungan Plaza.

    -Swiss Belinn Tunjungan
    This 3 star hotel is located the opposite of Tunjungan Plaza, yet very easy to cross the street, there is a bridge over the street. It is very convenient to walk from the hotel to Grahadi Building, Surabaya Tourist Information Center Office, Surabaya City Hall.

    -Varna Culture Surabaya
    Varna culture offers deluxe rooms suitable for leisure or business travelers. Locaed at Jl. Tunjungan, that it is just within walking distance Tunjungan Plaza, Majapahit Hotel and Pasar Genteng where you can buy Surabaya snacks and cookies.

Lobang Jepang or Japanese Bunker Bukittinggi

Located at the complex as Taman Panorama of Bukittinggi, the Japanese Bunker can be access easily. The bunker is an 8 KM long tunnel, made during Japanese occupation in 1942. 

The Japanese designed the tunnel for defense sake. There are some rooms in the bunker used for ammunition, meeting, escape channel, prison, spying tunnel, kitchen. 

There is a room with one spying tunnel to the surface and one tunnel under connecting to river where dead bodies thrown away. 

Japanese forced people from Kalimantan, Jawa and Sulawesi to build the bunker. The different places of origin was aimed by The Japanese that they will not communicate to each other.

The tunnel is like labyrinth that it is recommended to go inside with a local guide. 

Jam Gadang, The Great Clock of Bukittinggi, Indonesia

The Great Clock of locally known as Jam Gadang was erected by East Indies Government when Queen Wilhelmina reigned. The clock was a gift for the secretary of Bukittinggi at that period HR Rookmaaker. 

The architect of the tower is a Minangkabau, Jazid Mangkuto Sutan Gigi Ameh. The construction finished in 1926. The monument is 26 meters high as the zero point of Bukittinggi. The material used are: limestone, white egg and sand. 

The Great Clock has for floors. First floor is for the staff, the second floor is where the ballast pendulum located, the third floor is the room for the machine and the fourth floos is the peak where the bell located. At the peak of the tower, written the name of the clock producer. 

In the Japanese occupation in 1942, The Great Clock was rebuilt in Japanese architecture and after Indonesia Independence day, the roof is then changed with Bagonjong Minangkabau style. 

The machine of the clock is a very rare piece produced by Vortmann Recklinghausen, Germany and there were only two in the worl. The other type was used for London’s Big Ben. The machine works mechanically by two pendulums and it works without any energy source. 

All the number of the clock is in rome and the unique thing is that the number 4 is no IV but IIII. 

Liquor / Alcoholic Drink Shop in Surabaya

ranch-market Surabaya
Well i think you have guessed, that finding liquor in Surabaya or Java in general can be a little bit difficult due to its majority Muslim inhabitants. And according to decision of Indonesia Trading Ministry : 6/M-Dag/Per/4/1/2015, beverages of up-to 5% alcohol may not be sold freely at mini market, this updated the previous decision of that sold freely.

Yet some stores have license to sell liquor. Once that the writer went was Ranch Market, located at Jalan Basuki Rahmat No. 16-18, Tegalsari, Kota SBY, Jawa Timur 60261, Indonesia. This supermarket has special room for liquors, and the selections are many. Also if you are healthy food enthusiast, Ranch Market also sells organic vegetables from local farmers. As the location is next to Tunjungan Plaza, you can visit Ranch Market when doing shopping or dining out.

Liquor can be found also at Bonet Supermarket located at Jl. Manyar Kertoarjo V No.62, Mojo, Gubeng, Kota SBY, Jawa Timur 60285, Indonesia.

Review of Hotel in Bromo Area

Lava View Lodge
Lava View Lodge is located in Cemoro Lawang, Probolinggo, which is located right in front of Mt Bromo. This accommodation is best available at Bromo area. If you arrive a bit early and want to see sunset you can just enjoy from in front of the hotel . If you do not want to see sunrise from Mt Penanjakan, there us a place nearby Lava View, called Mentigen where you can just walk for few minutes to see sunrise, usually it is more quiet here than at Mount Penanjakan. The lodge has good value for money.

Cafe Lava Bromo
Same management with Lava View Lodge, this hotel also located at Cemoro Lawang, Probolinggo. Currently the restaurant is newly built. Located nearby Bromo Ticket Box and next by Bromo Permai Hotel. It has some room types which has hot water inside. The price is less than Lava View Lodge.

Bromo Permai Hotel
Good location at Cemoro Lawang, Probolinggo, even though old, usually visitors choose this hotel for its location, located overlooking Mount Bromo. You can just walk from Bromo Permai to the crater if you want. There are some rooms to choose from Superior to Cottage. All rooms have hot water.

Jiwa Jawa Resort
Jiwa Jawa is the best hotel available in Bromo Area. The rooms are nice and clean and comfy with good service. Some travelers chose to stay in the luxury hotel even though the location is about 15 minutes from the caldera. This is the only hotel which has small ballroom for meeting or gala dinner and outdoor space for bbq.

SM Bromo
SM Bromo located about 20 minutes from Bromo Area. It has Superior anad Deluxe Room. The rooms are nice and clean, good value for money. Extrabed is available to be added to every room.

Bromo Cottage is located in Tosari Pasuruan. It is about 30 minutes from the caldera, 30 minutes from Mt Penanjakan view point. This is the biggest hotel in Bromo Area, usually suitable for big group as it almost always has room available. This hotel has lift unlike other hotels in Probolinggo area. From the hotel you can see the view of Mt Arjuna at sunset.

Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, Lumajang, Malang, East Java, Indonesia

This waterfall that will make you freeze in awe is located in the border between Malang and Lumajang Regency. There are some aliases for this waterfall, such as Coban Sewi or Grojogan Sewu. This waterfall is flow from Glidih river and some spring located on the sliff of the fall. Because of the abundant springs along its flow, it ts called Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, which more or less means thousand falls.

The waterfall can be accessed from Malang which takes about 1.5 to 2 hours drive.  The most popular route is via Goa Tetes (waterdrop cave) which takes walking trail descending the waterfall cliff.  The water leaks through rock and  creating drops in the cave , that it is called Goa Tetes. Arrival at Gua Tetes proceed descend to river and then trek agains the stream for about 200 meters to Tumpak Sewu Waterfall.  Approximately it takes 3 hours to go vise versa to reach the waterfall.


Best time to visit is in the morning, so reccommended to depart as early as 06.00 from Malang. Morning is when thin mist float covering the beauty of the waterfall and birds chirping along your way there.

Due to the trail, prepare yourself with outdoor outfit and comfy shoes and spare clothes. Bring dry bag or plastic bag  to keep your camera or mobile phone from water. Camera lens usually splashed by water, do not for get to carry tissue.

You can find small food stall there in holiday season. If you visit during low season, might be better carry cookies .

As the trail is not easy, hiring local guide will be very useful for your trip.


PICTURES: Tirta Gangga Royal Water Garden, Bali, Indonesia

This Water Garden was built by Karangasem King in 1946. It was destructed by Mt Agung’s eruption and then rebuilt again. The water came from Rejasa spring, whose water is abundant. First time you enter the complex, you will find the big ponds with its fish and fountain. If you go further you will find a natural swimming pool with fresh cold water. 

PICTURES : Saleko Palace, where you can see the Torajan Bull, Sulawesi, Indonesia

This place consists of Tongkonan House where you can see the popular Torajan Bull. The bull is needed to be sacrificed when someone died that the dead can go to heaven faster, according to Torajan belief. The best bull to get to heaven faster is the striped bull, that the price can be very expensive, can reach up to IDR 750,000 (about USD 57,000). This kind of bull has some characteristics if the stripe is balance between the left and right side of the body, this qualified as most wonted bull. 

Saleko Palace was newly built for visitors to see the famous Torajan Bull. There are three bulls in here, one is pink bull with blue eyes, a striped bull and the other one is nearly perfect striped bull which is very expensive. You can take a picture with this bull buy giving donation.